New leisure centre in Rasen will be ‘target for crime’

Coun Summers, Coun Thomas Smith and Karen Whitfield, the Council's' Leisure & Cultural Services Team Manager, with the plans. EMN-181127-110441001
Coun Summers, Coun Thomas Smith and Karen Whitfield, the Council's' Leisure & Cultural Services Team Manager, with the plans. EMN-181127-110441001

Lincolnshire Police have warned the proposed £6.3 million leisure centre in Market Rasen could be a target for anti-social behaviour and crime.

West Lindsey District Council has submitted a planning application to build a dry leisure centre on land off Gainsborough Road, next to The Limes Country House hotel. And if plans are approved, the facility will include a 3G pitch, fitness and dance suite, as well as a sports hall.

Lincolnshire Police have been consulted on the proposal and have advised the council to take measures to reduce crime.

In a letter to WLDC, Lincolnshire Police designing out crime officer John Manuel said the force did not object to the development, but stated: “This type of facility can be vulnerable to a range of anti-social behaviour and associated crime and it is therefore important to ensure that the design and build incorporates adequate measures to help reduce such behaviour.

“An important element of this principle is to make all management and maintenance processes responsive to and regularly address issues of safety and security.”

Mr Manuel made recommendations on boundary and perimeter fencing, 
lighting, windows and doors, reception and entrance areas, a monitored intruder alarm, CCTV and cycle storage.

He said: “The primary purpose for perimeter security for this site is to prevent potential offenders from accessing the site to commit crime and disorder but specifically cause damage to playing areas.”

Mr Manuel told the district council the perimeter should have a two-metre welded mesh fence with secure gating.

He said: “It is important that access is secured and restricted outside the hours of operation.”

And Mr Manuel went on to say: “There is a requirement that CCTV systems provide an effective deterrent and when necessary obtain identification images to improve the chance of an offender being identified and convicted.”

The proposed dry leisure facility - due to be run by Everyone Active - is part of a £7.8 million leisure investment across the district.

Town councillors in Market Rasen have said the centre is a ‘fantastic opportunity’.

But, campaigners from Market Rasen Action Group lodged a 2,000-signature petition to the district council, calling on the authority to build a swimming pool as part of the development.

The district authority’s full council voted by majority to take “no further action” over calls for a swimming pool, with only six councillors voting the other way, after campaigners presented their petition on November 12.

Council leader Jeff Summers said the proposal would require ‘significant subsidy’.

He added that a consultation had taken place, and that a pool would be ‘unsustainable’.

Residents have been campaigning for 60 years to get a swimming pool and currently have to travel farther afield - to Wragby, Louth, Lincoln or Gainsborough for a dip.

With no direct bus routes, residents complain the journey isn’t suitable for those without a car.

In July, the town’s MP, Sir Edward Leigh, waded in on the debate and suggested an outdoor swimming pool may be the solution.